Welcome to NBA Lottery Simulation and Mock Draft 3.0 at SKORNorth.com. Like in both of the first two editions we’ll be using Tankathon.com to simulate the order of the draft. Why should we have to wait for the NBA Draft Lottery on May 14 to have some fun with this?
Here’s the result of how the draft simulation went this week. We’ve gotten pretty different results in each of the first three weeks, giving us a total of nine different teams finishing in the top four so far. Not bad at all.
Here’s how things went in version 3.0:
1. Charlotte Hornets – Zion Williamson, Duke
It’s the third edition of our mock draft, the third different team winning the lottery, and it’s the same result at the top. It’s always fun to see aa team that doesn’t have a high percentage chance (1.0% for Charlotte to land No. 1) grab the top pick. This is a selection that could potentially change the way free agency plays out, too. There’s a chance that Charlotte’s Kemba Walker could bolt in free agency, but maybe landing Williamson would be both the help he needs to succeed in Charlotte and enough to get him to stay. If he leaves, this is the best possible start to a rebuild for the Hornets.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant, Murray State
Morant would be quite a bit of fun in Memphis alongside Jaren Jackson Jr., and he probably would be replacing Mike Conley as the Grizzlies continue to rebuild from the Grit n’ Grind era of basketball. If this happens it would possibly make Conley more likely to be dealt on draft night for future first round picks.
3. Chicago Bulls – R.J. Barrett, Duke
The Bulls need help in a lot of places, and Barrett’s ability to pass – despite not being a point guard – should translate well to the NBA. Barrett’s scoring ability would pair well next to the likes of Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen as well, although his 3-point shooting certainly has room to improve.
4. New York Knicks – Cam Reddish, Duke
Reddish doesn’t have the highest ceiling of the players selected in the top four, but he likely has the lowest floor. At Duke – and in high school – Reddish showed flashes of having superstar potential. The problem has been that those flashes weren’t consistent enough. Maybe being the third option at Duke wasn’t a good thing for him. Then again, if the Knicks are drafting him and things go as they hope in free agency, he’ll be the third option – at best – in New York.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – De’Andre Hunter, Virginia
The Cavs were one of the worst defensive teams in the history of the NBA last season, and Hunter is a very consistent, switchable defender. He’ll be a capable offensive guy with a relatively high NBA ceiling despite lacking some star potential.
6. Phoenix Suns – Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
Culver falling here to Phoenix would be a huge win. They need help in the backcourt next to Devin Booker. Even though Culver isn’t the ideal backcourt mate in this draft, he’s a hard prospect to pass on if he falls this far.
7. Atlanta Hawks – Sekou Doumbouya, France
The Hawks have a terrific group of young players, and Doumbouya could add to that if he develops. He might be seen as a bit of a project by some, but if his game grows and he meets his potential he could be an outstanding NBA wing. He’s 6-foot-9 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan. Doumbouya is a freak athlete but has quite a bit of sharpening of his skills to do.
8. Washington Wizards – Darius Garland, Vanderbilt
Garland to Washington could be an awesome way to begin to move on from John Wall. Yes, Wall’s contract basically says he’s not going anywhere for quite some time, but his torn Achilles’ tendon says that he’ll probably never be the player he was when he signed that massive extension. Garland was hurt for most of this season at Vanderbilt, but he can turn into a terrific scorer in the NBA.
9. New Orleans Pelicans – Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
The Pelicans need to add talent for either a rebuild or to maybe pair with Anthony Davis if new front office leader David Griffin can convince him to stay. The big man from Gonzaga should make for a nice piece either way.
10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas) – Nassir Little, North Carolina
The Hawks could use one more effective player on the wing, with this pick they’re betting that either Little or Doumbouya works out. Both players may be risks that don’t pay off right away, but if one of them hits they’ll be in great shape.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Coby White, North Carolina
White would be an awesome guard to pair Karl-Anthony Towns with in Minnesota. He’s terrific in transition and can knock down 3-pointers consistently (35%) in college. He’s got the frame where he can potentially add some weight and get stronger with an NBA weight program. He may not be the best point guard in the draft right now, but White has a pretty high ceiling and beginning his career with a dominant big man like Towns could help him reach it. And although I haven’t done tons of research in this department, I’m fairly confident in saying White has the most fun hairstyle in the entire draft.
12. Los Angeles Lakers – Jaxson Hayes, Texas
The Lakers – or at least Magic Johnson – said they didn’t want their situation to be like Cleveland’s on the court with LeBron. First off, that was incredibly foolish. Secondly, Johnson is gone now, so we’re going to pretend at least that the thought of that walked out the door with him. Hayes could potentially be in Los Angeles what Tristian Thompson was for LeBron in Cleveland.
13. Miami Heat – Romeo Langford, Indiana
Miami is in an odd spot where they’re perennially in the middle of the pack right now and searching for a star. Maybe Langford is that guy for them down the road?
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento via Philadelphia) – Bol Bol, Oregon
There’s a good chance that this pick is dealt to New Orleans for Anthony Davis, but if it’s not, the Celtics are in a position where they can take a gamble on a high-ceiling guy that has an injury risk. If it works out for them, maybe their championship window gets extended. If it doesn’t work, they didn’t really lose too much by trying.
How else the Wolves could have gone